Diageo to refocus its below the line marketing

Diageo is reviewing its below the line advertising agencies across the UK business, in a bid to ensure it produces best-in-class marketing.

The drinks maker, which owns alcohol brands including Smirnoff and Guinness, has begun a review of its direct and digital marketing agencies, which will include Tullo Marshall Warren, AKQA, Agency Republic, Chemistry Communications and Carlson Marketing.

The move comes as Diageo’s chief marketing officer Andy Fennell, who is profiled in this week’s Marketing Week, said that there will be pressure on Diageo marketers in the UK to strive for domestic growth.

“That’s why we need superb people in markets like the UK, which accounts for 9% of our global business. Whatever the level of investment, we have to remain sharp in all markets,” he exclusively told Marketing Week.

He also urged marketers to be business minded and not undersell itself as a provider of “creative services”.

Diageo’s vodka brand Smirnoff topped the Power 100, an annual survey of the world’s leading drinks brands by brand consultancy Intangible Business.

According to Nielsen figures, Diageo spent £24.5m on advertising in 2009, a 27% reduction on the previous year. The company recently reduced its marketing spend from 15% of its total revenue to 14%, but Fennell told Marketing Week that the aggregate spend will return to the 15% level, but deployed in a different way.

A Diageo spokesperson says: “Diageo Great Britain can confirm we are in the initial stages of beginning a review of our roster of Below the Line (BTL) agencies. The review of BTL agencies is to ensure we have efficient, creative, first-class business practices and partners in place.”